SteelSeries - New Wrath of the Lich King Keyboard and Gaming Surfaces

Blizzard announced four new products from the SteelSeries folks based on the Wrath of the Lich King. If you already own the Zboard keyboard, you can buy the Wrath of the Lich King keyset individually.

Blizzard Quote:
Just in time for the journey to Northrend, SteelSeries is launching a new line of Wrath of the Lich King-themed peripherals: the new Zboard Limited Edition Gaming Keyboard, Qck Limited Edition Lich King Exclusive Gaming Surface, and 5C Limited Edition Frost Wyrm Exclusive Gaming Surface. All are made with high-quality materials and feature artwork from Wrath of the Lich King. Please visit SteelSeries.com for full details on each of their features and availability.

Sideshow WoW Diorama 30% Discount Only Through January 30th

As reported recently, Sideshow Collectibles ran a poll to decide which product would get the 30% discount axe.  Because You voted, Sideshow has deemed the WoW Diorama winner of the poll.  The World of Warcraft Blood Elf Rogue vs. Draenei Paladin Polystone Diorama is now available at $209.99 ONLY through January 30th and while supplies last. Go grab yours here.

A copy of this diorama will arrive to my home soon. Expect a review and video footage of this awesome polystone statue on Worldofwar.net

Sideshow: Our first Vote for your Discount promotion is now over. The Blood Elft Vs Draenei Paladin Diorama won and is available at a 30% discount for January 30th 2009 only! Place your in-stock order today! Click Here. Offer good only while supplies last.

Sideshow Collectibles Vote Call: 30% Off World of Warcraft Diorama

Sideshow Collectibles just informed me they have a special Voting Poll to knock 30% off one out of three choices. If you cast your vote now, and the World of Warcraft Blood Elf Rogue vs. Draenei Paladin Diorama wins the poll, Sideshow will be offering a $100 discount on Friday, January 30th. The retail price is normally $299. Hurry up and cast your vote. The poll won’t last long. Cast your vote here.

Would you like to save over $16 on Padme Amidala – Llum Mission 12-inch Figure, over $67 on the Grey Hulk Legendary Scale Bust or $100 on the Blood Elf VS Draenei Paladin Diorama? Cast a vote for your favorite discount and be sure to visit SideshowCollectilbes.com on Friday, January 30th for a chance to grab the winning collectible at its greatly reduced price! Please note: This sale will be available for 24 hours on January 30th and only while supplies last.

Garona Officially Orc-Draenei Half-breed

imageMy copy arrived today by mail. It is now official. Garona is half-draenei according to World of Warcraft # 15. For the first time, the official comic book has a Cast of Characters section at the back, on the last page. The profile for Garona says:

“An orc-draenei half-breed, trained from childhood as an assassin.”

Many years ago, ex-WoW Community Manager Katricia had a slip of tongue and claimed Garona to be half-draenei. This has been a long debated topic among lore scholars. But now the debate has been put to rest. The return of Garona and the revelation of her half-human son has made the comic book become a magnet for World of Warcraft lore enthusiasts. The new story arc has made this comic book very interesting. You should subscribe or pick this issue soon to get hooked to the series. Those wondering who Meryl is, this is his profile:

“A powerful undead mage , he has survived for thousands of years by the strength of his own magic.  An original member of the now defunct Council of Tirisfal, he is now Med’an’s guardian and mentor.”

The first scenario for the WoW: Adventure Game League!

Fantasy Flight Games invites players to embark into the latest World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game scenario: Alterac Valley. Heed the call to battle!

World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game is an exciting and fast-paced journey through the world of Azeroth for 2 to 4 players. Choose your favorite hero and embark on an epic journey from humble beginnings to immense power, battling vicious monsters, powerful overlords, and your treacherous fellow players!

Two to four players each take on the role of a Warcraft character. The base World of Warcraft Adventure Game comes with four unique and distinctive characters: Burbonn Fang the Dwarf hunter, Sandrai Darkshine the Human warlock, Sofeea Icecall the Undead mage, and Grumbaz Crowsblood the Orc warrior. Each character is depicted by his own detailed plastic figure and has his own specialized character and ability cards.

imageThe call to arms has been sounded. Will you take up arms? This first scenario in the World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game League will force you to reevaluate your tactics, as you must prove yourself worthy through combat. For more information on the league, check out this article. Once you have played, record your information (Include all of the information requested in this news article) and email it to the JR Godwin, League Administrator.

World of Warcraft # 15 Preview - Garona Birthed A Half-Human Baby?

imageFrom the creative minds of Wildstorm’s World of Warcraft comic book writer Walter Simonson (Mighty Thor) and Chris Metzen, Blizzard has released a loregasmic preview teaser of World of Warcraft # 15.  After King Varian Wrynn decapitated Onyxia’s corpse to display her head in Stormwind, Garona makes her appearance for the first time since the events from Warcraft: The Last Guardian.  The preview reveals that shortly after Garona assassinated King Llane, she found out about her … pregnancy.  She gave the baby to an ancient human mage, named Meryl,  to raise him. It is now confirmed that Garona was cursed by Sargeras to betray and do things against her will. Therefore, she couldn’t bare to rise her own child for fear she would kill him.

This plot brings about so many intriguing questions. Who is the father of Garona’s baby? Medivh? Khadgar?  King Llane? On the other hand, Meryl is described as undead, but one who has lived by sheer will and through the use of his own magical powers to prolong his life for milennia; he exists even before Ner’zhul created the Scourge. Is Meryl one of the previous Guardians of Tirisfal?

Garona’s baby has grown up, and there is a prophecy behind him found in a scroll digged from Hellfire Peninsula. This child is to become the savior of Azeroth. Do you feel the vibe that this guy, Med’an, is the heir of Medivh? Watch the PDF preview and get that HOT comic book at a newsstand near you!

This issue will be on newsstands on January 21.

In stores 1/21.

The road back to Theramore begins in issue #15 of the ongoing series. After the events of the last arc, King Varian and Prince Anduin must return home. But who will return with them? And what role will Garona Halforcen play in this next quest? Check out the preview pages.

If you like what you see, you can visit Wildstorm for more information, locate a nearby comic store (type zipcode), or subscribe to the series directly.

Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 2 Manga Preview Scans

Tokyopop has released a preview scan of inner-pages from the Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 2 Manga. You can view the scans at the bottom of this page. Press the square icon for full-screen view mode. Once you are done, hit the Escape button in your keyboard to exit Full-Screen mode. Then pick any of the next three story preview scans. Each story displays 9 pages.

Make sure to visit Blizzplanet and StarcraftWire for our New York Comic Con coverage through February 6-8. I will be meeting the Tokyopop editors there, and thanks to Pocket Star Books (Simon & Schuster) I have secured an exclusive interview with Chris Metzen at the event.

If you got Starcraft II, Starcraft books or manga questions for our Chris Metzen interview feel free to post them here.

Blizzard Quote:
The brutal… The menacing… The twisted… Confront the vast, renowned world of StarCraft inside this collection of mind-blowing adventures.

Heavy Armor

2009 New York Comic Con: Share Your Questions

I am gearing up with a press badge to attend the 2009 New York Comic Con to bring you as many details as possible of all Blizzard Entertainment products to be showcased at the event.  The event will take place through February 6-8. Among the companies coming to the New York Comic Con are: Pocket Star Books, Tokyopop, and DC Comics. Sideshow Collectibles, sadly, isn’t coming to the event this year (bottom). I will be in contact with some writers and with Upper Deck to find out if they are attending.

The line-up of products to be most likely showcased are:

  • World of Warcraft: Arthas
  • Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight
  • Warcraft Legends Vol. 3
  • World of Warcraft: Death Knight
  • DC Direct World of Warcraft Action Figures
  • World of Warcraft Comic Book

One Blizzard product in particular I am hoping to hear about—crosses fingers—is the StarCraft Comic Book. My DC Comics contact wouldn’t budge to offer details a few days after Blizzcon 2008.  It was revealed in the BlizzCon comic sampler. DC Comics will make an announcement of this comic on 2009. The matter is when. New York Comic Con could be a good candidate for the announcement, as well as San Diego Comic Con (July).  It was at the San Diego Comic Con where the World of Warcraft comic book was first announced.

Keith R.A. DeCandido confirmed to be attending the event. I will corner him to get some details of the Starcraft Ghost; Academy trilogy (manga) and the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (Pocket Star Book).  Aaron Rosenberg will be book signing copies of World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal. Jim Lee (Wildstorm) and Bill Roper (ex-Blizzard North) will be at the event too.

Pocket Star Books will be at booth 1402.  Tokyopop at booth 1621 and DC Comics at booth 1641. Grab your tickets online early. They are more expensive on-site.

Open to the Public:
Friday, February 6—1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday, February 7—10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday, February 8—10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Got any questions for any of those companies about a particular product? Feel free to share your questions to ask them on your behalf.

Tokyopop Warcraft: Legends: Troy Lewter Interview

TOKYOPOP Editor Troy Lewter sat down with NEO Magazine writer Lesley Smith to discuss all things Warcraft and StarCraft, giving her all the details on TOKYOPOP’s 22-book publshing program with Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and many others. Read the full interview. You can find the NEO Magazine article here (PDF).

And when you’re done reading that, make sure to check out details of StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 2, and Warcraft: Legends Vol. 2 now in stores!

Blizzard has been involved with the production of the manga every step of the way. Every element that appears in the manga has gone through a rigorous approval process with them, whether it

Starcraft Ghost: Academy - January 2009 Update

A few weeks ago, I reported that Pocket Star Books is launching STARCRAFT GHOST:SPECTRE on December 2009. Originally, at the New York Comic Con 2008, Keith R.A. DeCandido said he was hoping it would go out on the Summer 2009, but the 35 layoffs that hit the publishing company—including Marco Palmieri (Editor)—schedules were delayed.

The Tokyopop manga titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy (a trilogy) is aiming to hit the end of 2009. However, it is possible to be pushed to 2010. What I was informed is that Tokyopop hopes to unleash the three parts of the manga trilogy within 2010.

Keith R.A. DeCandido is currently writing Starcraft Ghost: Spectre and the Academy manga for Tokyopop.  DeCandido offers many updates on how far he is with this book almost in a weekly basis. Here is some of the latest updates to amuse you.

Blizzard Quote:
DeCandido: I turned in the script for the prologue and Chapter 1 of Ghost Academy Volume 1 on 19 December 2008. Chapter 2 is due 11 January (which will be do-able, assuming Blizzard’s feedback comes in a timely manner, as I don’t want to start it until I know I was on the right track with Chapter 1), with Chapter 3 due 31 January, Chapter 4 due 21 February, and Chapter 5 due 13 March.

Still waiting for the formal approval of the plots for Volumes 2-3 of Ghost Academy, but I can’t even start scripting that until late March anyhow… *laughs*

Ghost: Spectres is in progress, due to Pocket by the end of this month. Not sure when this is scheduled to be published. I’m hoping it and GA will both come out around the end of 2009/beginning of 2010.

I also have some pitches rummaging around for future volumes of the Frontline manga anthologies, but that’s all preliminary right now.

Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 Front Cover

The front cover of the upcoming WARCRAFT LEGENDS VOL. 3 is now available. This manga book will hit bookstores on March 17, 2009 at the price of $10.99. Part three of this trilogy, continues the adventures of the tauren Trag Highmountain (from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) now an undead. The three stories within the manga are written by Richard A. Knaak, Christie Golden and Dan Jolley.

Christie Golden is known to be a World of Warcraft player on an RPG server. It would be interesting to see her take on a goblin disguised as the Greatfather Winter. This is also the first time we see Hemet Nesingwary in a printed story outside the game.

The exciting Warcraft: Legends adventure continues with this latest installment of stories set in the Warcraft universe. From the critically acclaimed team of Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim (Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) comes part three in the continuing adventures of Trag Highmountain, the heroic tauren reborn as one of the undead. In “Crusader’s Blood,” a blood elf mage and a forsaken warrior embark on a quest of vengeance against a ruthless Scarlet Crusade captain.

From acclaimed writer Christie Golden comes the tale of a down-on-his-luck goblin named Krizz looking for a way to make some easy coin

Echoes of War Now Available On iTunes

Blizzard has announced the Echoes of War soundtracks are now available on iTunes store allowing you to purchase individual tracks or the whole album.

Blizzard Quote:
Head on over to the iTunes store to get your copy of one or all of the 15 unique arrangements from Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment. This new album was recently released on CD, and has now been added to iTunes as well. It features 90 minutes of music in all, based on tracks from our games, including the upcoming StarCraft II and Diablo III. Individual tracks are available on iTunes for 99 cents each. For more details, check out the Echoes of War site or head to the Eminence Online Store to order a physical copy.

World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal Audiobook Announced

A new audiobook has been announced by Tantor Media Audiobook. World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal was co-written by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. The audiobook is slated for May 2009. A narrator hasn’t been appointed, but hopefully it is Dick Hill again. The other three audiobooks were the first Warcraft books in the series. It’s great to see that recent books are getting the audiobook treatment and opens the possibility that more will be converted.

You can pre-order World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal audiobook here.

New Warcraft: Day of the Dragon Audiobook Sample

Richard A. Knaak sends heads up that Tantor Media Audiobooks has released a new Warcraft: Day of the Dragon Audiobook MP3 Sample, narrated by Dick Hill, for those fans who would want to listen to a three-minutes recording prior to purchasing it. The Audiobook will be available in a few days on December 29, 2009.  You may listen to the MP3 Sample here.

Our recent interview with Dick Hill, if you missed it. It contains a different 4-minutes sample provided to us by Dick Hill.

Starcraft: The Board Game Brood War Expansion Preview

Fantasy Flight Games official website recently had a facelift and new bits of content and previews of the upcoming Brood War expansion for the Starcraft: The Board Game product.

The Brood War Ruleset PDF is now available here. This new expansion also introduces new Leadership Cards that add interesting strategies. Among the Leadership Cards are the Hero cards and the Installation cards.

The Installation cards include the protoss Warp gate, Infested Terran bases, a Zerg Cerebrate and the Overmind. The Hero cards include Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan.

Fantasy Flight Games also unveiled a sneak peak preview of the Brood War units with some of their stats.

Jeff Grubb Comments On Warcraft: The Last Guardian Audiobook

Jeff Grubb is a legend among fantasy authors for his decades of experience in the field. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Al-Qadim, Marvel Universe, Pokemon, Thieves’ World, Wizkids, DC Heroclix and the Star Wars Miniatures: Rebel Storm.

In the Blizzard Entertainment worlds, Jeff Grubb will always be remembered along with Richard A. Knaak as the pioneers of the Warcraft novels. Jeff Grubb wrote Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2001) – the story about Medivih, Khadgar, Garona and Lord Lothar.  The story was based in the First War, inspired by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (RTS game, 1994).

As reported a few days ago, I interviewed Dick Hill thanks to Richard A. Knaak.  Dick Hill is the professional narrator and actor that worked on the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook (Dec 2008). The Warcraft: Lord of the Clans audiobook (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook (Aprill 2009).

As a follow up to the audiobooks interview, I contacted Jeff Grubb to get his feedback concerning the reprint of his Warcraft: The Last Guardian in the audiobook format. Read the interview below.

Medievaldragon: Hi Jeff. What are your feelings now Warcraft: The Last Guardian is getting published as an audiobook, narrated by Dick Hill?

Jeff Grubb: I am delighted to hear that Last Guardian is becoming an audiobook and that Richard “Dick” Hill is going to read it. I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks on my commute – wrapped up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books and just finished “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”. I’ve become a fan of the format, and pleased to see how well my story has held up over the years.

Medievaldragon: Are you ever writing a new Warcraft or Starcraft book? The fans, and myself, miss you badly. It was a great work.

Jeff Grubb: I enjoyed my experiences writing for Warcraft and Starcraft, and should the opportunity present itself, would be glad to do so again. At the moment, however, my day job is building exciting worlds, characters, and situations for Guild Wars at ArenaNet, and while they have been very understanding about me continuing my freelance writing, they have given me the hairy eyeball when the subject of working with their biggest competitors come up. So for the moment, I must demure. smile

Medievaldragon: I have some random thoughts for you that I would want you to share with fans. You quit WoW some months ago, and I am not sure if I read you returned to play with some friends afterwards. How do you feel about Khadgar in Shattrath City? Garona Halforcen is making its return in the DC Comics World of Warcraft # 15-16 too. Both follow-ups bring so many great memories from your book. Dan Liberty might show up in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty video game.  I was a sad panda after finding out a few years ago you worked at that Pokemon gig, and later you joined the Guild Wars development team at some point. You would have done so much for the Warcraft universe at Blizzard Entertainment in my opinion. Hope to see you soon back in the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises.

Jeff Grubb: I played WoW heavily for a while, then quit, then came back earlier this year with a group of friends, then quit again. My big problem is that I play with Real World friends, who would then either outlevel me or quit to get their lives back, either option leaving my character an orphan. I had characters scattered around a half-dozen servers. As a result, I never got to end-game content – and never got to Shattrath. I’m glad to see that Khadgar survived and is pulling the races together, and wondered what happened to Garona.  If Daniel Michael Liberty makes it to Starcraft II (Originally I named him Danny, but he turned into a better character when everyone called him Mike), that would be great as well. My general attitude to my characters is to do my best by them, and not to feel bad when others continue their stories.

I also never say never, so I may yet come back to Azeroth.

Medievaldragon: Really hope you do. Thanks a bunch for responding to a community that loves and misses your work and legacy for the Warcraft franchise. Karazhan, Moroes, Khadgar, Medivh, Aegwynn, Garona, Black Morass. Great memories.

Dick Hill provided us an MP3 sample (4:00) of the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon Audiobook for your listening pleasure. The same narrator will work on Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook.

Richard A. Knaak Shipping Autographed Books

Richard A. Knaak updated his blog today extending his offer of shipping book signed copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, Warcraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy Archive and the Diablo Archive. These will do a very special gift for a loved one or a friend who is into Warcraft lore. Knaak confirmed the release date for the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook is on December 29th, 2008. An audiobook sample (MP3) may be found here.

Knaak: First off, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all those who celebrate it!  I wish everyone a very great New Year, too!

Second, due to the overwhelming response and the request for other items, beginning JANUARY, I

Wildstorm: World of Warcraft # 17 Solicitations

DC Wildstorm Comics have provided us with solicitations for World of Warcraft # 17 (March 2009) where King Varian and Thrall will meet for the first time in Theramore. This will fill up the gap of what happened during The Battle for the Undercity questline. It seems Garona Halforcen has returned to make things worse for the Horde when a pact of peace is about to crumble, climaxing later on at the Wrathgate.

On another note, Wildstorm has also announced the World of Warcraft: Ashbringer # 1-4 comic book limited series will be reprinted as a hardcover on May 27, compiling all four issues within. Good news for those who missed the standalone issues. A reminder that the Ashbringer comic book was written by Blizzard Enrtertainment’s Creative Design team member: Micky Neilson, who also wrote The Road of Damnation (Kel’Thuzad), The Unbroken (Akama) and Starcraft: Uprising (Kerrigan).

WORLD OF WARCRAFT #17

It

Jeff Grubb Comments On Warcraft: The Last Guardian Audiobook

Jeff Grubb is a legend among fantasy authors for his decades of experience in the field. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Al-Qadim, Marvel Universe, Pokemon, Thieves’ World, Wizkids, DC Heroclix and the Star Wars Miniatures: Rebel Storm.

In the Blizzard Entertainment worlds, Jeff Grubb will always be remembered along with Richard A. Knaak as the pioneers of the Warcraft novels. Jeff Grubb wrote Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2001) – the story about Medivih, Khadgar, Garona and Lord Lothar.  The story was based in the First War, inspired by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (RTS game, 1994).

As reported a few days ago, I interviewed Dick Hill thanks to Richard A. Knaak.  Dick Hill is the professional narrator and actor that worked on the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook (Dec 2008). The Warcraft: Lord of the Clans audiobook (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook (Aprill 2009).

As a follow up to the audiobooks interview, I contacted Jeff Grubb to get his feedback concerning the reprint of his Warcraft: The Last Guardian in the audiobook format. Read the interview below.

Medievaldragon: Hi Jeff. What are your feelings now Warcraft: The Last Guardian is getting published as an audiobook, narrated by Dick Hill?

Jeff Grubb: I am delighted to hear that Last Guardian is becoming an audiobook and that Richard “Dick” Hill is going to read it. I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks on my commute – wrapped up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books and just finished “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”. I’ve become a fan of the format, and pleased to see how well my story has held up over the years.

Medievaldragon: Are you ever writing a new Warcraft or Starcraft book? The fans, and myself, miss you badly. It was a great work.

Jeff Grubb: I enjoyed my experiences writing for Warcraft and Starcraft, and should the opportunity present itself, would be glad to do so again. At the moment, however, my day job is building exciting worlds, characters, and situations for Guild Wars at ArenaNet, and while they have been very understanding about me continuing my freelance writing, they have given me the hairy eyeball when the subject of working with their biggest competitors come up. So for the moment, I must demure. smile

Medievaldragon: I have some random thoughts for you that I would want you to share with fans. You quit WoW some months ago, and I am not sure if I read you returned to play with some friends afterwards. How do you feel about Khadgar in Shattrath City? Garona Halforcen is making its return in the DC Comics World of Warcraft # 15-16 too. Both follow-ups bring so many great memories from your book. Dan Liberty might show up in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty video game.  I was a sad panda after finding out a few years ago you worked at that Pokemon gig, and later you joined the Guild Wars development team at some point. You would have done so much for the Warcraft universe at Blizzard Entertainment in my opinion. Hope to see you soon back in the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises.

Jeff Grubb: I played WoW heavily for a while, then quit, then came back earlier this year with a group of friends, then quit again. My big problem is that I play with Real World friends, who would then either outlevel me or quit to get their lives back, either option leaving my character an orphan. I had characters scattered around a half-dozen servers. As a result, I never got to end-game content – and never got to Shattrath. I’m glad to see that Khadgar survived and is pulling the races together, and wondered what happened to Garona.  If Daniel Michael Liberty makes it to Starcraft II (Originally I named him Danny, but he turned into a better character when everyone called him Mike), that would be great as well. My general attitude to my characters is to do my best by them, and not to feel bad when others continue their stories.

I also never say never, so I may yet come back to Azeroth.

Medievaldragon: Really hope you do. Thanks a bunch for responding to a community that loves and misses your work and legacy for the Warcraft franchise. Karazhan, Moroes, Khadgar, Medivh, Aegwynn, Garona, Black Morass. Great memories.

Starcraft Ghost: Spectre Update

Keith R.A. DeCandido is hard at work as I speak on the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (Pocket Star Book) and the Starcraft Ghost: Academy (Tokyopop).

He already pitched the Starcraft Ghost: Academy plot to Tokyopop and Blizzard. The manga will be a trilogy, and volume one was approved. He just needs to start writing the full script.

On to Starcraft Ghost: Spectre, he just finished writing the first chapter where Nova has a big battle against the Zerg. Keith has been through a detailed research for that scene.

Keith R.A. DeCandido hoped at the New York Comic Con 2008 to see both projects go on sale on Summer 2009, but sadly both have been pushed. Pocket Star Books informed me last week that Starcraft Ghost: Spectre is aiming to release on December 2009. Tokyopop informed me the Starcraft Ghost: Academy trilogy will be out throughout 2010.

If we start a speculation ball rolling, it looks like Starcraft: Ghost development is no longer postponed. And that 2010 is the year we might see this game reborn from the ashes on the PC, where it belongs. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the next-gen MMO turned out to be a revamped Starcraft: Ghost?

Exclusive: Warcraft: Day of the Dragon Audiobook Sample

Dick Hill provided us with a 4-minutes Mp3 sample of the upcoming Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook slated to be on sale near the end of December 2008 at the Tantor Media Audiobooks store. Pre-orders are already available. The audio sample provided to us is from the scene where Elven Ranger Vereesa, dwarf warrior Falstad, and Kryll (the goblin) discuss going to Grim Batol. You can listen to the sample at our recent interview with Dick Hill.

Let us know if you liked his voice performance and if you look forward for Warcraft: Lord of the Clans (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian (April 2009) Audiobooks too.

Warcraft Pocket Star Book Editor Marco Palmieri Laid Off

The economic recession across the United States is seriously affecting every industry: from General Motors and other Automobile manufacturers down to book publishers and beyond. Sadly, I have to inform that my personal contacts at Pocket Star Books and Tokyopop have been laid off. I had heard a few weeks ago that Tim Beedle (Starcraft/ Warcraft manga editor) and Susan Hale were no longer at Tokyopop. I don’t know the perks, but now I have figured out it is due to lay offs.

Today, after visiting Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog, I found out that Marco Palmieri was among the 35 employees laid off by Simon & Schuster on December 3.  He was the editor of all Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo novels, and more notoriously known as editor of 65% of the Star Trek pocket star books published in the past 11 years. It is a very sad day for hundreds of writers, including Richard A. Knaak, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Jeff Grubb, Graham McNeill, and Aaron Rosenberg who had the opportunity to meet and work with him. I am still in shock. I sent him an email just a day ago on Saturday not even knowing he may not even be able to read it from the office.

In my email I was letting him know the URL to the Night of the Dragon review and to ask a few things about the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre. I am really saddened to hear about his sudden departure. I have been in contact with Marco Palmieri for about two or three years. He would ship review copies of most Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft pocket star books to my home. The latest ones Diablo Archive, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon.

I have no words to thank him for his great support to keep fans updated with lore and upcoming books. Thanks to him,  Blizzplanet has been the main source of Blizzard novel news for other fansites, fans and even wiki enthusiasts in the past years. I had the opportunity to hand-shake Marco Palmieri this year at the New York Comic Con and to thank him face-to-face. I was looking forward to meeting him again on 2009. I will get in contact with the new editor, but it will not be the same without Marco. I am not the only one with that sentiment. All of the Blizzard novel writers feel the same way. We hope Marco Palmieri finds a new job doing what he does and loves best. Not only for him, but for his wife and two children. Best wishes to the other 34 employees who were laid off too.

The next Warcraft novel is expected to hit bookstores on April 21 as a hardcover (retail price: $ 25) under the title World of Warcraft: Arthas, The Rise of the Lich King—by Christie Golden. Hopefully, the layoffs won’t delay the release dates and script proposal and revisions for upcoming books.

Source: Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog

Warcraft Audiobooks: Dick Hill Interview

Tantor Media Audiobooks, Pocket Star Books and Blizzard Entertainment partnered to launch three Warcraft novels in audiobook format: Warcraft: Day of the Dragon will be available on December 2008, boasting 11 hours of audio—available as Audio CD or MP3.  The Lord of the Clans is slated for February 2009, while the Last Guardian is expected on April 2009. For this special project, many World of Warcraft fans will no doubt check out, Tantor Media Audiobooks hired Dick Hil, winner of three coveted Audie Awards and many times nominee of various awards.

Thanks to Richard A. Knaak, we were able to reach Richard Dick Hill for an interview to find out more details of the Warcraft Audiobook series.

Starcraft Comic Book Sketches

Starcraft Comic Book artist Shawn Moll released two of the sketches found in the Blizzcon 2008 comic preview. The first image is one of the characters named Cole Hickson. The second image is the pencil sketch of the Blizzcon 2008 preview front cover. The female sniper is named Nuura Joss. DC Comics Wildstorm has not officially announced the Starcraft Comic Book. It is expected to hit stores anytime on 2009 as an ongoing series based in the Starcraft universe. The planning of this comic has been going on since March 2008.

World of Warcraft Wolfrider Statue At Child’s Play 2008 Charity Auction

The Child’s Play 2008 Charity Dinner Auction ticket sales will close on December 5th. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on the World of Warcraft Wolfrider bronze statue at the auction. This is the same bronze statue I saw at the Blizzard Entertainment main office’s entrance. A huge replica of this statue will be brought from Asia to be placed at the center of the Blizzard Campus.

Those smaller bronze statues are limited editions that only Blizzard employees have, so if you want a chance at bidding on this one and be helpful to the charity feel free to get your tickets while they last. Let us know your impressions of the event and share your photos. Child’s Play takes place on Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30pm, on the 4th Floor of the Washington Convention Center (Skybridge). Dinner and the live auction will commence at 7:30pm.

SEATTLE – Dec. 1, 2008 – Hurry before it’s too late! Tickets are selling faster than the proverbial MMO on launch day for the 2008 Child’s Play Charity dinner auction to be held on Dec. 9 in the Washington State Convention and Trade Center’s skybridge; ticket sales will close this Friday, Dec. 5 (unless sold out prior). The event annually hosts over 400 videogame industry professionals and community members for an evening of drinks and silent bidding, followed by a plated banquet and live auction to benefit sick children in over 50 hospitals around the world. Contributions to the charity already exceed $450,000, passing the halfway mark for this year’s goal of $750,000.

Notable silent and live auction items will include:
– A microwave from Harmonix
– A Halo 3 Master Chief helmet signed by Bungie, Roosterteeth and Penny Arcade staff
– A bronze-cast World of Warcraft statue of an orc and wolf mount, given exclusively to Blizzard Entertainment employees
– A mint-condition, limited edition Black Dreamcast autographed by former Sega President Peter Moore

Dinner auction tickets may be purchased at https://www.childsplaycharity.org/cpdinner.php for $125 per person, $60 of which is tax deductible. Corporate table sponsorships (seats 10) are still available. Contact [email protected] for further information.

New Wave of World of Warcraft Steins Coming on December Holidays

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 2, 2008 – Following their successful October release in North America, 3 Point Entertainment today announced the availability in the European territories of the World of Warcraft(R) Epic Collection, a series of high-quality old world-style steins based on Blizzard
Entertainment(R)‘s massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

“The response to the steins in North America has been exceptional and we have sold out of our first and second shipments of the production run
scheduled for October and November.  The third and final shipment is scheduled to arrive in December for the holiday season.  We have had high interest from
players in Europe and are pleased to now be able to offer these steins to our ever-growing European community,” said 3 Point Entertainment president Jerry
Bennington.

The first two Epic Collection steins, Blood of the Horde and Alliance United, depict panoramic full-color bas-reliefs of night elves, tauren, orcs,
and more, illustrated by Blizzard Entertainment artists Samwise Didier and Glenn Rane. Each 11”, .94 liter authentic fine grain stoneware stein is
hand-crafted by world-renowned Brazilian manufacturer Ceramarte and topped with a sculpted pewter lid.  Each of the subsequent Epic Collection steins
will also commemorate World of Warcraft’s iconic characters and memorable moments with the same level of artistry and quality.

“We know from our strong sales that World of Warcraft enthusiasts are eager to get their hands on these extraordinary limited-edition steins. We
have seen increased demand during Oktoberfest, which is celebrated worldwide, and Brewfest (its in-game counterpart in World of Warcraft).  Several steins
have also been purchased as extremely unique wedding or groomsmen gifts,” noted Bennington.

The World of Warcraft Epic Collection steins are currently available only at https://www.wowsteins.com for a retail price of $79.99.

Diablo Archive – Diablo: Demonsbane Review

After receiving the Diablo Archive, boasting 752 pages, just recently, I decided to read through it backwards starting with Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame).

I am sure the Diablo Archive will be a jewel among my Blizzard novels collection. Better to have four Diablo novels on a single tome, than have invididual books all around the place unable to find them at times. There is one thing I disapprove from the Diablo Archive however.  For such a big tome, and quiet heavy in weight, the cover designer Richard Yoo or whoever chose the cover material should have gone for thick cardboard material. This huge archive is no pocket book. It is about two inches thick. The cover material is made of the same material as any other pocket book with the same thin thickness. The result is a jellyfish-effect when you handle the heavy book around. I usually read on my bed. At times when I am uncomfortable, I usually lie on my back and rise the book above me in the air. The weight is almost unbearable after 20 minutes, but the material doesn’t help. Enough with the material rant.

What can be found inside is worth the nuisance. For years, I have heard of Diablo: Demonsbane. A lecture painted in myth. Something I knew existed, but couldn’t reach. It was a few years ago, when I first heard of its existence. It was released on 2000 in ebook format. I have a lot of Warcraft RPG books in ebook format, and even purchased Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor as an ebook.  But for some odd reason I never got around reading Diablo: Demonsbane, even when I craved it more than any other book. Curiosity compels one’s craving. I have never read a review of Demonsbane, or heard what it was about. I just knew it was the first of the Diablo stories ever released.

I reported about the first printing of Diablo: Demonsbane on paper two years ago on July 2, 2006. It was titled Blizzard Legends Vol. 1.  It contained a printed version of three ebooks from each game franchise: Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (by Chris Metzen), Starcraft: Uprising (by Micky Neilson), and Diablo: Demonsbane (by Robert B. Marks).

However, it is now with the release of Diablo Archive that fans have the opportunity to get this craved story more broadly as it comes bundled along with Diablo: Kingdom of Shadow, Diablo: The Black Road, and Diablo: Legacy of Blood.

Personally, I was expecting something different in Diablo: Demonsbane. More of a dark fantasy meets Lord of the Rings with some fancy Shakesperian old-english language accent. Part of the myth I envisioned for lack of any knowledge of a Demonsbane’s summary.

I started reading on Sunday evening and couldn’t stop reading. It caught my attention. It is a short novella spanning through page 685-738. According to the epilogue, these events take place on year 302 and seem to happen during the Sin War.  Right at the end when I read the epilogue, it made me wonder.  Did Diablo: The Sin War somehow retconned Demonsbane? I have no idea. What I do know is that none of the events of the Sin War trilogy seem to be mentioned in it. Nor did the main character in Demonsbane show up in the Sin War trilogy.

Which book comes first in the timeline is also a mystery to me. One thing does gets mentioned that might help those who have better knowledge of the timeline than me.  Sarnakyle the Kejistan mage of the Spirit Mage Clan mentioned he was among the party of mages that killed Bartuc the Warlord of Blood at Viz-jun two years earlier.

The story is centered around Siggard, a warrior who fought at Blackmarch with the Entsteig’s army. They had fought demons there led by the favored archdemon of the Lord of Terror: Lord Assur. This archdemon has a peculiar glyph of invincibility that makes him feared by the Vizjerei Mage clans. There is however one thing that may kill him, and that would be spoiling it. I did see it coming when I read what could kill him, but was unsure as the requirements for it to happen were not clear at sight, specially with the interaction of Siggard with the other characters.

Ever since the Night of Souls through the events in Brennor, it kept bouncing around my mind why Siggard can’t remember anything about Blackmarch until certain point as if he had magically forgotten. As I was reaching the last pages of the story, it was more evident my suspicions were right, but the idea resulted contradictory. Making me doubt.  Robert B. Marks wrote here a very nice story, and wrapped up with a surprise few could have seen coming. It keeps a fast pace, while adding elements of suspense. I enjoyed the read and don’t regret it. One well-known character appears a couple of times, but heavily weights on the outcome of the story: Tyrael.

I will be reading through the Diablo Archive in upcoming days. One thing I am glad of doing, however, is to have started backwards, reading Diablo: Demonsbane first. It is a pity this story was brought as an ebook and as a short novella. As an ebook, it didn’t get the attention it deserved in 2000. And as a novella, it was too short. The story was worth an entire book of 378 pages. I hope the author writes a continuation of Siggard’s adventures.  Otherwise, I would like to read a new story from him again. Take note Blizzard. Cheers, Robert B. Marks.

Go grab your copy of the Diablo Archive.

Blizzplanet - 2008 New York Comic Con - Blizzard Licensed Products

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Medievaldragon attended 2008 New York Comic Con at the Jacobs K. Javits Center in Manhattan to bring coverage of the event to Blizzplanet.  There I met Richard A. Knaak and Keith R.A. DeCandido who are writing material for various volumes of the upcoming Starcraft and Warcraft mangas to be published by Tokyopop.  Other Blizzard Entertainment licensed products were showcased at the New York Comic Con by Upper Deck Entertainment, DC Comics & DC Unlimited, and Pocket Books. Below are articles covering information provided at the event, and lots of product photos and images.

 

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